Self Compassion

Quiet your inner critic with self compassion

Written by Stephanie Dykema, Ph.D.

Photo by  Bart LaRue  on  Unsplash

Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

If you’re like most women I know and work with you’re way more critical of yourself than you are towards other people.  We have a harsh voice running in our minds all day long: “why did I say that?” … “I really should lose weight” … “I’m so stupid and can’t do anything right”. 

Instead of judging yourself, try self-compassion. Dr. Kristin Neff describes self-compassion as having the same kindness and understanding towards yourself that you have towards others when they are having a difficult time.  

When you fail at something or notice something you don’t like about yourself, ask yourself: What would I say to a friend in this situation?  You’ll probably notice that your response to a friend is much more gentle than what you’d say to yourself. Self-compassion is letting go of criticism and judgement of ourselves and giving ourselves kindness and gentleness.  

In other words, self-compassion is being an ally with yourself rather than your own worst enemy.

Next time you feel embarrassed or like a failure, imagine what it would be like to say to yourself: “I’m human, we’re all human, everyone struggles and make mistakes” or “This really sucks, I feel terrible..  how can I care for myself right now?”

Self-compassion is not self-pity. Self-pity is a “poor me, I’m struggling so much and I’m so alone” attitude. Self-compassion is an attitude of “no, I’m not perfect, but neither is anyone else… other people aren’t a horrible person when they make a mistake, and neither am I”. 

Try taking a short, 4 minute self-compassion break right now!

If you want to talk more about how to make change in yourself and your relationships while also being flexible and compassionate towards yourself contact me to set up an appointment:  

Neff, K. & Gerner, C. (2018). The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Grounding in Light Meditation

Looking for a new way to practice mindfulness and feel more grounded? I love this "grounding in light" meditation written by Nancy Napier and found in her book "Sacred Practices for Conscious Living." If you're just starting out with mindfulness meditation, you can read more about mindfulness in an earlier post. You may also want to give mindfulness of breathing a try before you engage in this meditation. 

Before you begin this meditation, find a comfortable and quiet place where you can be alone for about 10 minutes. You can sit in an upright but comfortable position in a chair or you could always lie on the floor. When you finish the meditation, take a few moments to absorb the practice. 

Love yourself first, then you can love others better. Loving-kindness meditation.

We often find it difficult to love ourselves first. Why is that? Perhaps we got the message from a young age that putting our needs first, or even loving ourselves, was selfish. And selfish is bad, so be sure to always consider others first. How has that internalized message been working of you? It's silly to fight with old standing beliefs we have about ourselves that no longer serve us. Instead, it's more helpful to acknowledge what is true and stick to it, even when it means redirecting yourself over and over again.